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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 185


(Question No. 652)

Mr Windsor asked the Minister for the Arts, in writing, on 11 October 2011:

(1) Has the Governments attention been drawn to claims that the United States digital rights management and distribution company, Overdrive, is dominating the supply of e-books to Australian public libraries and that this domination has led to reduced equity, quality and consistency of access to e-books for the Australian community, as well as an erosion of Australian authors'' intellectual property rights.

(2) Will the Government consider the establishment of a national licensing system for the distribution of e-books to guarantee equitable access for Australian readers; if so, will the Government consider involving the National Library in such a scheme.

Mr Crean: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The government is aware of such claims.

(2) The final report of the Book Industry Strategy Group, set up by Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, was released in early November. One of the group's recommendations was that Australian publishers work to clarify the business model for the sale and use of ebooks by libraries. The government will consider and respond to the group's recommendations in due course.